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About 50 march through downtown St. Petersburg in remembrance of Holocaust

ST. PETERSBURG — The rabbi pointed to his sign to explain why he and about 50 other people marched Sunday through downtown St. Petersburg.

"Never forget," it read.

"This is all about never forgetting," said Rabbi Steven Weiler of Shoresh David Messianic Synagogues, "because if we remember, we won't repeat it."

The group walked from the Florida Holocaust Museum to North Straub Park holding signs and Israeli flags as part of a worldwide remembrance of the 6 million Jewish people killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during the Holocaust. The march had three goals to keep in mind, Weiler said: never again, never forget and do not be silent.

He emphasized those points during a service at the park under a banyan tree where the crowd joined together to pray, read Scripture and recite quotes from Holocaust survivors.

"We cannot be silent," Weiler said. "We have to be bold witnesses for the Lord. If we don't say something, who will?"

Among the crowd was Mark Brannan, who carried a red album of his father's yellowed photos depicting the gruesome scenes at the Dachau concentration camp. His father, a U.S. Army soldier who saw the camp liberated in 1945, bore witness to the thousands killed there.

Years later, he rarely spoke about it, and the photos sat out of reach on the top shelf of a closet, Brannan said. His wife, Donna, compiled them into the album to be passed down to future generations.

"I want just for people to remember the evil that took place," he said.

Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or kvarn@tampabay.com. Follow @kathrynvarn.

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